Charles and Imogene Carpenter House (1896)
This magnificent house displays the eclectic mixture of the Neoclassic architectural style as seen in the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition. The four two-story fluted Ionic columns support an impressive pediment gable, and the eaves feature a wide band of dentil trim and moldings.

The exact birth of this house may never be precisely dated, but Imogene Hand knew this location well. Her father, Elbert Osborne Hand, Attorney and Judge, purchased the lot in 1864 and resided there with wife Margaret and his five children, including Imogene, born in 1867. In 1892 Judge Hand sold the house to his daughter Imogene and her husband Charles R. Carpenter, who had come from Illinois to Racine. Following four years at a local coal yard, Charles was involved in various entrepreneurial projects, but he pursued a career around bookkeeping and became a cashier at the Commercial & Savings Bank in 1894.

In 1896, the property value at 1324 Main Street jumped from $2,000 to $7,500, indicating a substantial structure had been added. With roughly 6,000 square feet and 13 rooms, the new home housed the family of four sons and three servants. However, in September 1914, the Commercial & Savings Bank closed its doors, and by December 1915 Charles was charged with perjury and embezzlement. He was found guilty and sentenced to two and a half years in the Milwaukee House of Correction, but was pardoned after one year. In spite of the resulting bankruptcy, the Carpenters retained possession of the house and in 1919 sold it to Percy Batten, one of the founders of the Twin Disc Clutch Company. The Batten family lived in this home until 1960, when it was sold to psychiatrist Dr. Glenn Bacon. When St. Luke’s Hospital obtained the property in 1967, it remained unoccupied until the Junior League coordinated a community venture to develop a group home for troubled teen-aged girls. Horizon House opened in 1970; its seven bedrooms provided space for six girls and houseparents.

The house became a private residence again with new owners: Phillip and Virginia Eckert in 1977, then Daniel and Judith Jansen in 1988. Roger and Mette Baran of Chicago bought the house in 1998, renovating it extensively. In the fall of 2015, a water pressure valve malfunctioned, causing tremendous damage to the entire north half of the house. The Barans have painstakingly labored to restore all damaged areas.

In redoing the kitchen, a huge beautiful chimney, previously unknown, was uncovered. Could this be an original structure of the 1864 Hand family home, or even a remnant from the 1849 owners? As the mystery goes on, we are so thankful that the Barans are dedicated to answering the needs of this historical Racine home – and for sharing it with us on this tour.